is a doll sometimes just a doll?

Posted: 07/01/2005 in Daily Grumbling

I am in awe when I go into toy stores. There is just too much choice, and I worry about gender stereotypes. The agony of choosing presents for my cousins is unbearable. I just don’t want to reinforce predetermined roles that society feels fit to divvy up based on sex. So I veer away from dolls, and I am too much of a snob over teddy bears. Don’t even get me started with My Little Ponies, wrong on so many levels. So I am left with either educational/craft type activities, games or books. Which, perhaps understandably, is what my brother and I were brought up with.

I know it is a bit of a cliche, but we made our own fun. We read. We imagined. We collected marbles, stickers, and Garbage Kid Pail cards. We knitted jumpers for our menagerie of bears, and sewed outfits for ourselves. We made spaceships and went on jungle explorations in the living room. We were pirates. We were perpetually in motion, running everywhere and in summer we were hardly in doors (and this growing up in London). Since there was just the two of us, we beefed up the numbers when we played cards or board games with our mute pseudo pets…the bears again. Who needed a pretend oven, when Dad would let us bake our own pies and cakes. My auntie always tells the story of coming to visit us in Perth, when we were wee, and for lunch Dad was making a pie. But, Jonty and I were allowed to make a pie too. We had our own pie dish, filling and pastry. The pastry kept falling on the floor and, legend tells, was black by the time it went into the oven. But, Dad served up our attempt along with his, and the guests were encouraged to take a slice from both.

It just seems a bit of a cheat, if you can buy all this “fun” pre-pack these days. BTW, in the end I plumped for the book option for the gifts this afternoon.

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